|aOriginally published: New York : Farrar Straus Giroux, 1980.
|aThe story of Ruth and her sister Lucille, who grew up haphazardly. The family house is in the far west town of Fingerbone. Ruth and Lucille's struggle toward adulthood touches themes of loss and survival, and the undertow of transience.
A modern classic, Housekeeping is the story of Ruth and her younger sister, Lucille, who grow up haphazardly, first under the care of their competent grandmother, then of two comically bumbling great-aunts, and finally of Sylvie, their eccentric and remote aunt. The family house is in the small Far West town of Fingerbone set on a glacial lake, the same lake where their grandfather died in a spectacular train wreck, and their mother drove off a cliff to her death. It is a town "chastened by an outsized landscape and extravagant weather, and chastened again by an awareness that the whole of human history had occurred elsewhere." Ruth and Lucille's struggle toward adulthood beautifully illuminates the price of loss and survival, and the dangerous and deep undertow of transience.